Soto (also known as sroto, tauto, or coto) is a traditional Indonesian soup mainly composed of broth, meat and vegetables. Many traditional soups are called soto, whereas foreign and Western influenced soups are called sop. Soto is sometimes considered Indonesia’s national dish, as it is served from Sumatra to Papua, in a wide range of variations. Soto is omnipresent in Indonesia, available in many warungs and open-air eateries on many street corners, to fine dining restaurants and luxurious hotels. Soto, especially soto ayam (chicken soto), is an Indonesian equivalent of chicken soup. Because it is always served warm with a tender texture, it is considered an Indonesian comfort food.
Some sotos are named based on the town or region where they are created:
Ambon soto – made of chicken and broth, flavored and colored with turmeric, ginger, galangal, garlic, lemongrass and loads of spices. Served with rice, the toppings are blanched bean sprouts, shredded chicken, vermicelli, chopped celery leaves, golden fried shallots, fried potato sticks, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), hot sauce, and potato croquettes.
Bandung soto – a clear beef soto that has pieces of daikon
Banjar soto – spiced with star anise, clove, cassia and lemongrass and sour hot sambal, served with potato cakes
Banyumas soto, sroto Banyumas or sroto Sokaraja – made special by its peanut sambal, usually eaten with ketupat
Betawi soto – made of beef or beef offal, cooked in a whitish cow milk or coconut milk broth, with fried potato and tomato
Kediri soto – a chicken soto in coconut milk
Kudus soto – made with water buffalo meat due to local taboos of the consumption of beef
Lamongan soto – a popular street food in various Indonesian metropolitan areas, a variation of the Madura soto
Madura soto or soto Sulung/soto Ambengan – made with either chicken, beef or offal, in a yellowish transparent broth
Makassar soto or coto Makassar – a beef and offal soto boiled in water used to wash rice, with fried peanut
Medan soto – a chicken/pork/beef/innards soto with added coconut milk and served with potato croqutte (perkedel). The meat pieces are fried before being served or mixed.
Padang soto – a beef broth soto with slices of fried beef, bihun (rice vermicelli), and perkedel kentang (fried mashed potato).
Pekalongan soto or tauto Pekalongan – spiced with tauco (a fermented miso-like bean paste).
Semarang soto – a chicken soto spiced with candlenut, mixed with rice, perkedel, tempe, and often eaten with sate kerang (cockles on a stick) or tripes and quail eggs. Soto Semarang is also known as Soto Bangkong, named after Bangkong crossroad in Semarang.
Tegal soto or Sauto Tegal, almost same with Pekalongan soto spiced with tauco (a fermented miso-like bean paste). Sauto can be chicken soto, beef soto, or even beef offal.
Soto ayam with clear yellow broth, garnished with emping crackers and fried shallot.
Other sotos are named based upon their chief ingredient:
Soto ayam – chicken in a yellow spicy broth with lontong, nasi empit, ketupat (rice compressed by cooking wrapped tightly in a leaf, then sliced into small cakes), or vermicelli, commonly found in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Some versions are prepared with cellophane noodles.
Soto ceker – a chicken foot soto, served in rather clear yellowish spicy broth soup, which uses spices including shallot, garlic, lemongrass and turmeric that add the yellowish colour, served with of cabbage, celery, rice noodles, and garnished to taste with sambal, lime and soy. Soto ceker is one of the popular street food in Jakarta, Bali, and most of major cities in Java. In street side warung or humble restaurants, soto ceker is usually offered as a variation of soto ayam.
Soto babat – a cow’s or goat’s tripe, served in yellow spicy coconut milk soup with vermicelli, potato, and vegetables, usually eaten with rice. It is commonly found throughout Indonesia.
Soto kaki (lit. “foot soto”) – made of beef cow’s trotters; tendon and cartilage taken from cow’s feet, served in yellow spicy coconut milk soup with vermicelli, potato, vegetables, and krupuk, commonly eaten with rice. It is Betawi food and can found in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Soto tangkar – also Betawi specialty soto made of chopped goat or beef ribs (Betawi:tangkar) and beef brisket cooked in coconut milk soup spiced with turmeric, garlic, shallot, chili, pepper, candlenut, cumin, galangal, coriander, cinnamon, Indonesian bay-leaf and kaffir lime leaf.
Soto mi (spelled mee soto in Singapore and Malaysia) – a yellow spicy beef or chicken broth soup with noodles, commonly found in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Bogor, Indonesia, is famous for its soto mi made with beef broth, kikil (cow’s cartilage), noodles, and sliced risoles spring rolls.
Soto babi – a pork soto from Hindu majority Bali island.
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